Misunderstanding Creativity

When I started writing my first book, it was about many things. It was originally about how difficult and sometimes unfair the artist’s lifestyle can be… it was about how people in non-artistic jobs so often misunderstand artists…. it was about how to successfully stay married to an artist. 

What it morphed in to (and how that actually happened) is honestly, beyond me. 

I read everything I could get my hands on about Creativity. At first, it was a little bit challenging to find books on this topic and then a strange thing started happening. This topic started appearing everywhere around me. I would listen to podcasts and interviews where people were talking about it. It started to feel like it was this buzz word of sorts. And when I really started paying attention, I quickly realized how many people were using this word incorrectly. 

Don’t get me wrong - it wasn’t in a mean or malicious way. Like millions of other things in the world, I believe they were saying these things without actually giving proper thought and research to the topic. 

But I was determined to.

I was doing my best to read everything I could get my hands on about the topic - from a past century worth of books I had never heard of until then - to an entire university’s database of research - to everything Google would allow me to uncover on the inter webs. 

My book slowly morphed into a somewhat loose exploration of the topic and while it also became evident that this was a story about myself and my past journey up to this point, it also became painfully obvious that this book was a representation of every conversation I had had with people over the years who felt less than. It was as if every time someone had told me they weren’t creative (which was a lot) or every time someone had listed the reasons out loud for why they couldn’t achieve that one thing they really wanted to do with their life… it was as if I was hearing and feeling every single one of those conversations all over again. 

And that’s when I realized that misunderstanding Creativity is perhaps one of the most dangerous things we could ever allow to happen in our world. It’s damaging to our psyche, it’s damaging to how we view and judge ourselves and others around us, and it’s damaging to the way we allow ourselves to choose our daily (and, ultimately) our lifetime tasks.

Creativity, for years, has been approached as something some people have and others don’t. Have you ever looked in the eyes of someone telling you they don’t believe they’re creative? It’s one of the most hopeless looks I’ve ever encountered. I believe it to be a sort of cry for help, as if they’re pleading with you to find something worthwhile in their lives to share with the world and prove them “good enough.”

Likewise, there are many others who have given themselves the title of “Creatives”. They wear this like a badge of honor and sort of parade around exclaiming it, as if they have found something about themselves that proves them worthier than other people without. They are Creative, they put in their bios, as if that’s some sort of personality trait or job description that only they have and share with the world.

Somewhere along the journey of writing this book, I realized what I believe to be a very important and crucial truth.

I believe everyone - every single person who has ever been and is ever to be - is Creative.

Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others.

It is NOT the same thing as being an artist.

I believe you can be creative in every part of life and in every job that exists. What your natural interests lend themselves to will determine where you desire to spend more time. 

I believe that knowing and believing we are all on an equal playing field will change the way we think and feel about ourselves. I believe it will change the way we think about possible career paths for ourselves. I believe it can change (if we let it) the amount of freedom and permission we give ourselves to pursue our deepest desires in both actual careers and in how we spend the rest of our time (hobbies, etc.) I also believe it could change the amount of enjoyment we receive out of less than ideal situations, whether that be a current job you’re not satisfied with, mundane but important every day tasks, etc. 

And, finally, if you don’t agree with me, I will leave you with one last thought. If I’m wrong, what does believing something like this hurt? (as opposed to what we stand to lose if I’m right.)